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A Focused Foundation: School Design + Construction Planning

March 31 - April 1



This two-day joint conference, hosted by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Pennsylvania and PSBA, brings architects and school leaders together for conversation and learning on project management, energy-efficient and healthy design, finances and funding, school safety and security, and best practices for K-12 construction. The conference will have four learning tracks available for attendees to choose from. Brief descriptions of each track are outlined below.


March 31 — Facilities tours with industry experts, 4:00 p.m.

Join architectural firm Crabtree Rohrbaugh & Associates and Penn Manor School District representatives for a tour of Penn Manor High School in Millersville, PA, about 15 minutes from the Lancaster Marriott. Built in the 1950s and partially renovated beginning in 1994, Penn Manor High School is undergoing a major renovation and construction project to assure it can adequately meet current and future educational needs.

Following the Penn Manor tour, return to the Lancaster Marriott for a reception and an opportunity to tour the historic Marriott property with Greg Scott from RLPS Architects.

April 1 — Keynote and educational presentations, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Architectural firm Svigals + Partners, will present the keynote on the process of constructing the new Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, site of the tragic 2012 mass shooting. With safety a deep concern, the project benefited from the wholehearted participation of the community, and it became a process of revitalization for all of Newtown.

In addition, interact with exhibitors and hear other educational sessions on the topics above offered throughout the day. The event will close with a dessert and coffee reception, where you can network and receive your event swag bag.


Reuse or Reconstruct

A large facilities/capital project is a risky and potentially contentious decision for any school board and superintendent. Similarly, a school project is a large commitment for any firm who becomes a partner in it. This track will explore the implications of decision-making when a district has major facilities work that is necessary but is considering whether to renovate or build. What expectations should firms and districts have? What is the role of community input and public relations? How can districts understand the short- and long-term ramifications of a renovation project versus a new build? Expertise on outcomes and process can inform these decisions.

Energy Savings & Healthy Schools

The health of school facilities can have a direct impact on the health of students, staff and visitors, and on the environment. This track will explore environmentally friendly choices for constructing or renovating “green” schools with a focus on efficiency in heating, cooling, energy use and lighting, as well as the use of recycled materials. Discuss alternative energy sources such as geothermal systems and solar panels. Also, consider options for awareness and removal of hazardous elements in the school environment, such as asbestos, lead, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), mold, and other potentially harmful chemicals or elements.

Financing & Construction Best Practices

Presenters in this track will offer best practices in financial, relational and legal considerations impacting the construction process from start to finish. Learn more about financial planning and feasibility studies, including considerations for the impact of potential tax increases or referendum. Hear the latest on PlanCon, the process by which schools can apply for reimbursement from the commonwealth for construction projects. Experts will also address ways school leaders and architects, engineers and contractors can build positive relationships with each other and communicate effectively with members of the community. What questions should districts ask when researching and vetting architects and contractors? Take a fresh look at the contractual and legal requirements that must be met by all parties.

School Safety and Security

The physical safety of students, school staff and visitors is of paramount importance. In this track, presenters will discuss key safety and security considerations when constructing or renovating schools. How can design be both welcoming and safety-conscious? Learn how school leaders can coordinate with architects, contractors, local law enforcement and emergency responders to tour and inspect school facilities and complete modifications to ensure greater security. Identify recommended resources to assess school safety and security, and grant opportunities to fund improvements.


AIA Members: Registration is $250 for AIA members. 

Register at https://www.psba.org/aia-focused-foundation-registration/

PSBA Members: Registration is $250 for PSBA members. 

Discount for All Access members applied at checkout. To register, log into myPSBA.



Overnight room block reserved at the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square

Book your reservation: https://www.psba.org/marriott-room-block

Cutoff Date: 3/10/20

Register >

Thank you to our Conference Boosters!

Thank you to our Conference Supporters!


March 31
April 1
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